Pink Purple Flower
PEN-F + M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8, 1/1600 sec, F1.8, ISO 200

Grab your camera gear and head outside! The flowers are blooming and they are beckoning you to photograph them. But why take a boring, simple flower photo when you can capture a stunning image that is beautiful enough to print large and hang on your wall? Check out these tips to master the art of macro flower photography.

1

USE THE PERFECT GEAR FOR THE JOB

My favorite combination to use is my OM-D E-M1 Mark III paired with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro lens. The 60mm an amazing lens that renders a 1:1 shooting ratio (35mm equivalent) that’s perfect for macro photography. I have also used the M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO telephoto lens with some astounding results. Both lenses give me a beautiful depth of field and offer the ability to get in close to my subject.

Another surprising addition to my favorite gear to use when photographing flowers is a Tough camera. Recent models have an amazing super macro mode that allows the user to get incredibly close to the subject. This works great for flowers!

Rainy flower
Tough TG-4, 1/250 sec, F3.6, ISO 250
2

FIND A UNIQUE FLOWER OR COLLECTION

I love to photograph a brightly colored flower or one that is sitting off by itself. Or sometimes I will find a flower that stands out in a sea of greenery. No matter subject gives you inspiration, go find it!

white flower green bg
OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/250 sec, F2.8, ISO 200
3

SIT AMONGST THE FLOWERS

When in nature, I do not like to disturb it. That being said, I like to become one with it. Find a comfy spot and place yourself in the middle of nature’s splendor. Immersing yourself in the beauty of nature will help bring your images to life.

Flower field
OM-D E-M1 Mark II + M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/250 sec, F2.8, ISO 320
4

FOCUS ON THE MOST INTERESTING PART

This could be the center of the flower. Or maybe it’s the soft petal. Or maybe it’s the back of the flower. Take your time to explore what you find interesting about your subject. Take pictures from multiple angles. Shoot from a higher perspective or shoot from a lower perspective. Don’t be afraid to takes lots of pictures from different angles. This is one of the many joys of digital photography. Shoot now, delete later!

Focus Stacking flower
Did you know that Olympus has an in-camera focus stacking feature that can save you a huge amount of time when editing your images? This image is compiled of 8 images stacked in-camera. It only takes a few extra seconds and it's totally worth the wait.
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro
1/250 sec, F4.0, ISO 640
Back of Flower
Don't forget to photograph the back of your flower. It's unexpected and can lead to an intriguing image.
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro
1/50 sec, F8.0, ISO 640
Focus stacking flower hair
Because I used in-camera focus stacking, I was able to capture, in great detail, the fine hairs on the tip on this tulip. If you haven't already tried it out, you should. It's amazing!
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro
1/400 sec, F5.6, ISO 400
Looking up at flower
OM-D E-M1 Mark II + M.Zuiko Digital 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO, 1/4000 sec, F4.0, ISO 200
5

SET YOUR APERTURE

Set your aperture to get YOUR desired results.

Some people like their macro image to be taken in the focus stacking mode with an aperture of f8 or higher to get the maximum amount of focus on their subject. Others prefer to have a softer feel by capturing a single image with a wider aperture like f2.8 or f4. No matter what your preference is, set your camera accordingly.

My preference is to generally shoot with a wide open aperture in order to isolate my subject. I love the feel of a soft photo and my imagery mimics this emotion.   

pink flower in focus
OM-D E-M1 Mark II + M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 PRO, 1/4000 sec, F1.2, ISO 200
6

PHOTOGRAPH IN OPEN SHADE

My favorite type of light is the soft, diffused natural lighting that comes from the sun. I like to position myself to photograph in this type of lighting. It gives me the ability to open up my aperture and create some creamy backgrounds. 

Yellow flower in focus
OM-D E-M1 Mark II + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO, 1/1250 sec, F4.0, ISO 200
7

GET AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN

Macro photography is all about making a small object appear larger than life in your photograph. A lot of the time you have to get really close to your subject to make that happen. Get as close as you can to the flower you are photographing. Their beauty is evident the closer you get.

Pink close up
Tough TG-4, 1/200 sec, F3.2, ISO 500
8

USE THE IMAGE TO TELL A STORY

I love to create an image that tells a story about the subject. Maybe it’s capturing a lonely petal on a dying bud. Maybe it’s photographing a beautiful water lily in the midst of the pads around it. Maybe it’s just a flower’s colorful center that grabs my attention. Try to convey that feeling in your image in order to tell a beautiful story.

Flower by itself
OM-D E-M1 Mark II + M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/250 sec, F2.8, ISO 200
9

EXPERIMENT INDOORS

Is the weather keeping you indoors? If so, indoor flower photography may be the answer. Your images may brighten someone's dreary day. Be sure to experiment with different lighting and backgrounds!

Indoor Flower
Continuous lighting was used to light the scene. This setup takes very little space.
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro
1/800 sec, F2.8, ISO 400
Leaf Low Key Light
Super low key image of a leaf. One of my favorite ways to produce drama in an image is to light the subject with just a touch of light introducing mystery and intrigue. In this case, I used one continuous light set at a 90 degree angle directly across and slightly behind the subject for just a touch of wraparound lighting on the tip of the leaf.
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro
1/80 sec, F10, ISO 400
Red Flower
"The devil is in the details." When I first planned to take pictures of this flower, I knew wanted to to photograph this flower on a fiery red background. After I started photographing it, I noticed what looked like a face formed from the stamen of the flower. What a perfect combination of background, subject and focus stacking!
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro
1/100 sec, F5.0, ISO 400
Flower with monochromatic background
Use a monochromatic color style to your fine art floral photographs by choosing a single hue for both your subject and your background. Allow the slight variation of shades, tones, and tint create a dynamic image.
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro
1/60 sec, F10, ISO 640
10

CAPTURE REFLECTIONS

Use a reflective surface to enhance your fine art floral photographs. Get creative with your reflective surface. We bet you would never guess that a tablet was the surface used for this image and a monitor was the backdrop!

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS TECHNIQUE

reflected flower
OM-D E-M1 Mark III + M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro
1/80 sec, F9.0, ISO 640

BE SURE TO SHARE!

Be sure to share your work with others or on social (#getolympus or @getolympus) or in the Olympus User Gallery. Enter contests. Join groups that will support you as you learn and excel. As photographers we thrive off of being inspired by the artistry of others, so put yourself out there to be inspired and inspire others!

CU side flower
PEN E-PL7 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro, 1/160 sec, F3.2, ISO 400

RECOMMENDED LENS
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ABOUT LAURA HICKS

Instagram: @laurahicksphotography

Laura Hicks is a professional portrait photographer with a personal passion for macro photography. Throughout her career, she has had the privilege of photographing hundreds of weddings and thousands of portrait sessions, and of being the official photographer for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” filmed in West Chester, Ohio.

LEARN MORE ABOUT LAURA

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